Federal appeals court dismisses Guantanamo detainee lawsuit

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit [official website] on Tuesday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a lawsuit brought by a former Guantanamo detainee against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [JURIST news archive]. According to the original complaint [complaint, PDF] the plaintiff, Sami Abdulaziz Allaithi, was an Egyptian professor working in Kabul teaching English. When the US started its bombing campaign, the plaintiff fled to Pakistan, was captured and then transferred to the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp where he claims he was tortured and prevented from practicing his religion. This treatment continued even though he was classified as a non-enemy combatant by the Department of Defense's Combatant Status Review Tribunal [official website] until he was released. In the opinion, written by Judge Janice Rodgers Brown, the court held that, "[t]he now-settled law reveals several flaws and inadequacies of the Appellants' complaint. ... In response, counsel invites us to remand this case to allow them an opportunity to rectify whatever mistakes lie in their pleadings... We cannot."

In February 2010 the Department of Justice (DOJ) had filed a motion [case backgrounder] to dismiss the plaintiff's case, and in February 2013 Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court for the District of Colombia [official website] granted the motion and dismissed the lawsuit. A similar lawsuit [JURIST report] was filed in 2007 by two Turkish nationals who were held and tortured by US military personnel after they were declared non-enemy combatants. The DOJ also filed a motion to dismiss this lawsuit, which was granted [opinion, PDF] by the district court and upheld by the court of appeals.

 

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